Budget fails to come clean on cuts to health care services says HSA



    VANCOUVER, Sept. 1 /CNW/ - British Columbia families will bear the brunt
of the provincial government's failure to adequately fund health care, Health
Sciences Association of BC president Reid Johnson said in response to the
provincial government's budget introduced today.
    "This budget means that British Columbians, who rely on our health care
system, will pay more for less," Johnson said.
    The government will introduce additional costs to individuals and
families by increasing MSP premiums by six per cent starting Jan. 1, 2010 -
and beyond, as the budget promises annual increases to the premiums.
    The budget fails to outline the real impact on access to health care
services for British Columbians, Johnson said. Health authorities have yet to
release their service plans outlining more than $300 million in budget cuts
ordered by Health Minister Kevin Falcon in July.
    "It's time for the Liberal government to come clean and stop downloading
the responsibility for telling the true story about health care cuts to health
authorities," Johnson said.
    "In July, Health Minister Kevin Falcon delivered an edict to health
authorities to slash their budgets. Those cuts will result in dramatic service
reductions - including diagnostic services like lab, x-ray, MRI, ultrasound
and nuclear medicine," Johnson said.
    "In a poll conducted by Ipsos Reid this summer, 88 per cent of British
Columbians agreed the provincial government should not make cuts to medical
tests like lab tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs during the
economic downturn," he said.
    "British Columbians get it. Just because you aren't diagnosed, doesn't
mean you're not sick. The longer it takes to get a diagnosis, chances are you
will be sicker and require more complex and expensive treatment and
rehabilitation. The success of our health care system relies on diagnosis,
treatment, and rehabilitation services and the highly skilled health science
professionals who deliver them," Johnson said.
    For HSA's 16,000 health science professionals, the two-year wage freeze
imposed by government will compound the continuing crisis in recruitment and
retention of the health science professionals essential to the health care
team.
    "Government needs to get serious about its commitment to health care.
That includes a fair bargaining process that recognizes the contributions of
all members of the health care team," Johnson said.





For further information:

For further information: Miriam Sobrino, (604) 439-0994 or (604)
328-2886 (cell), www.hsabc.org

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Health Sciences Association of British Columbia

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